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Purchasing a Puppy for Christmas?

Should you get a puppy for Christmas for your children, a friend or other family member? Maybe – but consider all the following before making that decision. A puppy is a commitment for up to 20 years. Make sure that whomever is receiving the puppy really wants a dog. It is not always a good idea to surprise someone with a cute little puppy unless you know in advance who will be taking care of that bundle of joy! Here are a few things to consider before buying a Christmas puppy:

  • Holidays can be the worst time to introduce a little fluffy ball of fur. Although lots of attention will lavished on the puppy, this can actually overwhelm the dog and make him or her very nervous. This will lead to lots of accidents, a scared puppy and frustrated owners. Holiday time is hectic and sometimes chaotic just keeping the family together. Introducing an innocent little puppy at this time can be a bad decision.

  • Consider that your new puppy will not be house-trained. Think ahead of time about who will train the puppy. Are the children old enough to help or will it be your job? What is the weather like in January and February where you live? Do you really want to be taking a puppy outside to train during snowy, rainy or dark cold evenings?

  • Puppies are time-consuming. Along with house-training, puppies need to be fed and given water, played with, taken out for exercise and generally coddled. They are living, breathing beings, not toys, and need to have time and attention from their new owners.

  • Consider the breeder you choose. Is this breeder pushing the sale of a puppy so they can make money and get rid of the dog? Some breeders wisely avoid sales at holiday time because they know the fun of a new puppy at Christmas time will wear off in a few weeks. A lot of puppies end up in shelters because the new owners didn’t consider all the effects it would have on their family. Or many times, the breeders are asked to buy back the puppy, which they really don’t want to do, but may do so to avoid their puppy ending up in a shelter – or worse. A wise puppy breeder will avoid quick sales and try to make sure the purchaser really wants the puppy to raise.

  • Don’t ever “surprise” someone with a puppy unless you really know that person wanted one! The novelty will wear off and reality will set in. Often the new owner will take the puppy but not be thrilled with the idea of raising a dog. That puppy can end up in a shelter. A better idea would be to offer a picture and a gift certificate to someone you think wants a puppy. That way, the person can decide and make a more informed decision.

  • Holiday time is a tempting time for a puppy to get into trouble. There is so much around that puppies can chew on that will be harmful to them. Along with a Christmas tree, and gifts lying around, there are many more temptations such as electrical cords, Christmas lights, ornaments, tinsel and “people-food” goodies that are not healthy for a puppy. Chocolate is a big no-no for a dog. It can cause central nervous problems, seizures, vomiting and other ailments. There are also toxic items, such as poinsettia plants, holly berries and mistletoe that can really harm your new puppy. Don’t leave alcohol around for your puppy to taste. If you live in an icy area, be careful about what you put on ice to melt it if your puppy will walk on it. Antifreeze is very toxic to dogs. Dogs may also lick the chemicals on the ice or on their paws after walking on it.

  • Consider the costs of raising a puppy. Your new puppy may be a really cute treat, but it’s going to cost you in the years to come. Puppies need vet check-ups, vaccinations, collars, leashes, food and water bowls, puppy toys, a crate and bed, training classes and perhaps videos and books to teach you about your puppy.

IF YOU DECIDE TO GET A PUPPY FOR CHRISTMAS:

After considering all the above you may still decide you want to get a puppy for Christmas. If so, make a few preparations ahead of time:

  • Make sure you have a quiet place for the puppy when he or she is tired and needs to sleep. Put a crate in a bedroom or a room away from the main activity so your puppy feels secure.
  • Know who will feed and train the puppy. Consider setting up a schedule if you have children that will help.
  • Have toys, a collar and leash, feeding and water bowls, food and a crate with a bed available for the puppy.
  • Make sure there is nothing on the floor the puppy can chew on and harm himself. Keep all dangerous items out of reach.
  • Plan to have the puppy vaccinated before he or she arrives to your home. If you are purchasing from a breeder or a pet store, get a copy of the vaccinations and vet visit when you pick up the puppy.
  • Make sure you curb the activity in your home so you don’t make the puppy nervous. Too much handling and passing around a puppy can literally make him sick. You want to welcome the puppy into your home and make it a safe and comfortable place for him.
  • Enjoy the new puppy and be comforting to the little new baby. Spend a lot of time playing with the puppy and have a great time!

PICK UP THE PUPPY AFTER CHRISTMAS:

Visit the breeder, take a photo of the new puppy, or if the breeder is out of state, ask for recent photo.  Take this photo and wrap it up in a box for the recipient.  Then schedule to receive your new puppy after the holiday season.

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